In this course, which satisfies the University’s IT requirement, you will use digital tools to study the past. The historical focus of this course will be early American history, including the colonial era, American Revolution, and early American Republic. The class will prioritize doing history—teaching the fundamentals of information technology by applying them to practical historical problems. Over the course of the semester you will learn how to find, use, verify, interpret and analyze historical primary sources online, while also putting them in context with secondary scholarly sources. You will also discover how digital tools can be used to ask new questions, build historical arguments, analyze datasets, create visualizations, and present visual and textural work effectively online. By completing a series of small digital projects, you will not only gain valuable digital skills, but also historical thinking skills—two skill sets which will be valuable for your university work, and in your future career. 

In this course you will:

  • Learn the history of early America and examine how it connects to our lives today.
  • Practice historical thinking skills, including close reading, sourcing, contextualization, corroboration, and reading silences. 
  • Develop digital literacies, including how to access, use, understand, evaluate and create information through digital platforms.
  • Create historical scholarship using digital tools and resources, and present this work effectively online.

You will also achieve the IT competencies from the Mason Core:

  • Students will understand the principles of information storage, exchange, security, and privacy and be aware of related ethical issues.
  • Students will become critical consumers of digital information; they will be capable of selecting and evaluating appropriate, relevant, and trustworthy sources of information.
  • Students can use appropriate information and computing technologies to organize and analyze information and use it to guide decision-making.
  • Students will be able to choose and apply appropriate algorithmic methods to solve a problem.